The Problem with Fame

Luke 9: 7-9
Hg 1:1-8 / Ps 149

Who, then, is this I hear such things about? And he tried to see him.
(Luke 9:9)

In our dealings for personal gain,
Or in any material pursuit,
Lord let no lies or malice obtain,
Instead help us abide by the truth

Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he kept trying to see him. (Luke 9:7-9)

Reflection

Despite His efforts to keep His works from public knowledge, the fame of Jesus as a great prophet and miracle worker spread like wildfire throughout Galilee. It was not His intention to become known as a great spiritual or political leader. On the contrary, He taught His disciples, “Whoever wishes to be great among you must serve you like a servant; whoever wishes to become the most important must serve all of you like a slave. In the same way, the Son of Man did not come for other people to serve him. But the Son of Man came to serve other people. The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk.10:43-45).

Indeed the main reason why Jesus healed so many was simply due to His innate loving nature, especially His deep compassion for the poor and the suffering masses. But the more He pleaded with His beneficiaries not to make His miracles known, the more the people talked about Him, until His wondrous works reached the ears of King Herod, who wanted to see Him. But Herod would never get the chance to see Jesus perform a miracle, not even when he finally met Him face to face (Lk.23:8-9).

Satan can use fame as a potent distraction from the real purpose of God for our mission. Or it can be the cause of friction and division in any successful organization. This may have been the case in one progressive renewal movement that has recently experienced a schism, because one faction claimed that the other side was veering away from the organization’s original vision. In our own brotherhood, a couple who had been longtime leaders broke away and formed their own group because they believed they had been given the gift of healing, and should lead others in their new ministry. We can only hope that it was not out of a sense of self-importance and a refusal to submit to others’ authority that were the real reasons for their departure.

Grant us the humility like that of our Lord Jesus to submit to Your Will, Father God, and not the adulation of others as the reason for our service. May we perform mighty deeds for Your kingdom not for our glory, but to be pleasing to You, our God. Amen.

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